All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

It's ganging agley again.

14 rImage via Wikipedia

I had the Christmas and New Year well organised.

We are going to a 'solstice party' on the entitled by the hosts to annoy absolutely everyone invited and to ensure a vociferous evening. I wouldn't want to be a latter day Druid at that particular assembly - his little golden sickle wouldn't be much defence against some of the dinosaurs slated to be present. We shall all take something to eat and somewhat more to drink and it will be wheelbarrows at midnight, kindly provided by non drinking friends.

Then that was to have been that. End of public festivities, shut the doors and utter peace until January 2nd 2010. We had plans, and they precluded the presence of others. Any others.

The hype of Christmas dismays me...even before Armistice Day, the junk and lights are in the shops, the jingles are playing overhead and people are being persuaded that they need to show their love for someone by buying them useless tat. Or, worse, that feeling obliged to send something to someone, they feel that useless tat would fit the bill. I have long since abandoned sending Christmas presents...I send something that a friend or family member might like when I happen to see it, whatever the season might be.

Family get togethers depend on which bits of the family are getting together, too, so that also is something best left to a more clement season than that of mid winter, rather than risking all out war round the fireside and mother monopolising the television for The Queen's Speech. Let alone the problems of who doesn't eat what, who ate too much of something they shouldn't have and the loud collective fizz of Alka-seltzer at the breakfast table.

This year's Christmas plan was ...books.

There are years when not much really seems to appeal from the reviews, and others, like this one, when I keep saying
'I must read that!'
Blogging has extended my horizons too, encouraging me to start on areas either totally new, or re-opening avenues long closed off by the passage of time and accrual of mental junk.

So, we have both been making lists and thought we would order just in time for the holiday - as otherwise we would just read the lot as they came in and be left to our old favourites by the time Christmas came round.

Well, we're well served for our egoism and optimism. So far, nothing has arrived. I know we have another week but I am getting nervous all the same.

Amazon tracking is great....except that their French centre has gone on strike - thank you the CGT, who think that Christmas pressure is too much for their members to stand. More likely they felt left out, what with the baggage staff at Orly airport feeling the strain and the drivers of the RER network in Paris deciding that working in winter was really beyond the pale.

Other books are coming from the States...notably one by George Soros that a U.K. firm said couldn't be sent to France - something I must follow up. I know Soros was done for insider trading in France some time ago, while his French counterparts got off scot free, but what has that to do with importing a book? Probably a very simple reason and nothing to do with conspiracy theories, but it intrigues me all the same. And why can it come from the States and not the U.K.?

They'll probably all arrive in time, but I am a I'm thinking about which old favourites I will be putting out on the bookcase by the armchairs...empty so far in anticipation of the Christmas goodies to give us a happy holiday.

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  1. Well you already kow how I feel about Christmas..much the same as you. My friends are here for two weeks but they don't get into all the commercialised stuff no traditional Christmas dinner..but exceedingly good company.
    I sincerely hope your books arrive in time! xxx

  2. Ganging agley? I took me ages to remember the best laid plans! Hope you get your books.

  3. I had no idea that Amazon FR was on strike. The bums.
    Sorry to hear about your worrisome xmas. I'd like to ignore the actual holiday and celebrate it when I felt like it with the people I wanted to be with. But alas, a big french family expecting all the traditional fare.
    Have fun on the 21st and have a drink for me!

  4. Have just read FLEECED by David Craig and Matthew Elliot - excellent expose of British Government incompetence over last 12 years.

    Surprised that any of us can afford Christmas


  5. I got a couple from this week. I love it. Because of the french delight in spreading the french language, the international postage rates for 'livres et brochures' are sooooo cheap. All sorts of books from all over the world.

  6. Ayak, it is great to see friends and family, but this year we thought we'd have a break..just ourselves and the books! You'll have a great time with your friends, and so will we, even if nothing arrives.

    Cogitator, but you got to it, all the same!I'm sure...well, sort of sure..that some at least will get here....

    Dedene, the big get together and traditional fare can be're fine as you can cook, but I've come across some poor souls faced with the French family and its' expectations who have nearly had a nervous breakdown...only to discover that Aunt Tiphane or Aunt Marie Louise are busting a gut to be asked to help!
    We'll have fun with all the other dinosaurs and raise a glass to you with pleasure.

    Mark, a lot of what is due to arrive is down to you, in one way and another. You've given me the best sort of present over the short time I've been blogging...activated the little grey cells! Thank you..and I'll be adding Fleeced to the new year list....

    Rosie, I'll be checking it out...I was reduced last week to reading Ian Rankin in French...a very strange translation.

    Zuleme, isn't it just!

  7. I'll pass on a recommendation that I got from Carol (not only in Thailand) and Dumdad - 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' by John Irving. Since reading it all I want to read are other John Irving books - he is a genius.

    Have a great book wormy Christmas and this is the first year we are not buying any pressies. It's just so commercial and people have everything they want anyway.

    Have a lovely time you two - curled up with good books, food and each other

  8. French Fancy, yes, Irving on the new year list, then...and thanks for your kind wishes..,new books or no new books, we'll have a great time.
    Enjoy yourselves too.

  9. I was so glad to arrive on your blog today, and see that you are closing the doors to everyone else for the Christmas Hols. Us too. Just me and him, and our PC's (all our books are still packed). And outside work if the weather is kind enough. It is a wonderful feeling to know that Christmas is totally bypassing us.
    Hope you have a lovely 'curl-up' time.

  10. I hope you get your quiet bookish Christmas! We're having a pretty quiet one too, mostly in the country. We always attend a Christmas Eve party and leave the next day. We don't do specific Christmas presents, but I guess we sort of did this year in the form of a puppy. LOL

  11. I think if I read Fleeced I'd get too angry? It's why I don't read Private Eye, either, except very occasionally.

  12. Vera, you deserve a few dock free days! I am so glad you persevered with Gus, too. Nice to hear of him enjoying himself in an approved fashion.
    Have a great time.

    Mary Anne Gruen, Funny how an animal will always slip in under the guard! Have a great time!

    Cogitator, No, I don't have the same reaction, oddly enough. I know that if it isn't one bunch of louts in power doing their best to pick my pocket, control my movements and cock up everything they touch, it will be another bunch of louts so doing, just differently labelled.

    I think that honest people have been forced out of politics and I often wonder when this happened as I remember honest ones about in my younger day...not that they were very popular with their parties, even then.

    What worries me is the level of control that is now exercised...but don't start me off. Books are arriving, and some of them deal with these very subjects, so I'm in for a long wallow in the sink of iniquity this Christmas and New Year.

  13. John Irving has a new one we just bought on audio and in hardcover. He's from NH, yanno, and this one is about the struggling towns north of us. Berlin, Gorham, Milan to the Lakes. Olof says it's really good read by the author.

  14. Zuleme, I have started investigations..think I might start at the begining.
    This is delightful, my ordered books are arriving, and I have more ordering to look forward to in the New Year.
    I shall worry about bankruptcy later.

  15. Abe I have found they work for me on publications that are out of print or really hard to find.....Probably better than or elsewhere. etc..... give them a try

  16. Trisha, yes, I know Abe books...they dug up a really hard to find one for me last year, but I'd only beenlooking at their U.S. site...I'll have to widen my horizons! Thanks!

  17. Thank you, as ever, for your super comments over at mine. Hope your books turn up - they sound very interesting.

    Hubbie is very pro Christmas and the children are madly excited about it all. We can celebrate it our way this year...the first time at the B&B with Grandpa South. Can't wait!

    Happy Reading! Hadriana xx

  18. Hadrians's Treasures, thank you, the books are arriving, so all is well.
    If you have children, then Christmas is quite another thing to what it is to the curmudgeonley and humbug brigade...among which I must admit to numbering. After all, presents, excitement, treats, every child loves that, and it doesn't have to be a commercial event either, everything depends on the adults running the show.
    That train on your blog appealed to me.

    Have a great time...I intend to.

  19. Perhaps my nicest Christmas ever was one I spent alone here in the village a few years ago, reading Dickens non-stop. Absolute peace and pleasure. Hope your books arrive on time!

  20. Pueblo Girl, thank you, they are coming thick and fast. Silly of me to be anxious, but I had so been looking forward to the orgy of books and peacefulness.